MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, a group of Minnesota lawmakers plans to push for reforms in policing and criminal justice during the up-coming special session.
In a press release Tuesday, the Minnesota Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Caucus (POCI) announced it’s considering a number of reforms to put before the Legislature later this month.
“George Floyd’s death was due to a horrifying lack of humanity, and Minnesotans are far too familiar with the pain and trauma resulting from violence at the hands of law enforcement. This simply cannot be how policing works in our state,” said Rep. Carlos Mariani (D – St Paul), chair of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division, in a statement.
The 20-member caucus wants to address a number of government mechanism, from reforming the process by which law enforcement officers are prosecuted to increasing accountability and transparency between law enforcement and the public.
Some of the ideas under consideration are:
— modifying use-of-force laws to prevent wrongful deaths;
— creating a new crime for unjustified use of force;
— strengthening the independence of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension;
— collecting and centralizing the data on deadly-force encounters;
— establishing citizen oversight councils to provide community input in policing;
— expanding training in de-escalation, mental health crisis intervention, and responding to people with disabilities;
— and creating incentives for officers to live in the communities they serve by lifting the state ban on local-residence requirements. (Click here for the full list of legislation under consideration).
“For too long, people in my community have been told they will have to wait for the systemic changes necessary to ensure people of color don’t have to live in fear of law enforcement,” said Rep. Rena Moran (D – St. Paul), chair of the POCI, in a statement. “They are tired of waiting for reform, tired of waiting for accountability, and tired of waiting for justice.”
Floyd, 46, died on Memorial Day after being arrested by police outside a south Minneapolis store over the use of a counterfeit $20. Cellphone video of the arrest showed ex-officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed, pleading for mercy. Floyd’s death sparked protests and riots in Minneapolis and acros the country.
Chauvin is charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder. The three other officers involved in the arrest have yet to be charged.
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